DENVER – Kyle Orton is no John Elway, and those yellow uniforms certainly don’t have anyone thinking “Orange Crush.”
But on a day that had as much to do with Denver’s colorful history as its promising present, anything seemed possible.
Orton led a drive that might ring a bell – 98 yards in the fourth quarter to tie the game – then Matt Prater kicked a 41-yard field goal in overtime Sunday to lift Denver to a 20-17 victory over New England.
McDaniels got a win over his old boss, Bill Belichick, and the Broncos improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1998.
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“I lied,” McDaniels said, when asked about his game-week assertion that this was just another game. “It was a little bit more special to me.”
His postgame reaction said it all. After a quick wave to Belichick near midfield, McDaniels ran to the corner of the stadium near where his family sits and pumped his fist repeatedly.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the AFL, the Broncos came out in their 1960s yellow jerseys, then played better than they looked.
Orton threw for 330 yards and two scores. The defense held New England (3-2) scoreless in the second half.
Denver’s game-tying, fourth-quarter drive certainly wasn’t “The Drive” – Elway’s classic, 98-yard march that helped beat the Browns, 23-20, in the 1987 AFC title game – but it will go down as one of the best in this franchise’s history.
Easily the most surprising since the Broncos took the field half a century ago. Even the 1977 Super Bowl team – the team that coined the term “Orange Crush” – was viewed as an up-and-comer back then, something the turmoil-wracked Broncos certainly were not heading into 2009.
“The guys in this locker room believe, the coaches believe, guys believe in each other and are fighting,” defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday said.